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Space Shuttle Columbia Accident Investigation

Suspected Plasma Leak May Have Been Culprit


Two composite images of Space Shuttle Columbia during ascent on STS-107

Two composite images of Space Shuttle Columbia during ascent on STS-107

The Environmental Protection Agency has 42 teams conducting operations in five Texas counties. Searches are focused on large structural items, and a plan is being developed to support expanded searches in areas where NASA-identified critical items have been found.

The Civil Air Patrol is expanding operations west of Fort Worth, and negotiations are under way to bring in a blimp to help search in the area from Fort Worth east to Palestine, Texas. The Navy is taking control of water operations, with dive teams and equipment arriving today. Searches will focus first on the Toledo Bend Reservoir and then turn to other lakes in the affected area.

Columbia glided across the western U.S. just before sunrise Saturday, February 1. The Shuttle flew just north of San Francisco around 6:50 a.m. PST and broke up over eastern Texas around 8:00 a.m. CST. Any imagery, especially video, of the Shuttle's path might aid the Columbia Accident Investigation Board in determining the cause of the accident.

Media and private citizens who have video or still images of Columbia's entry path are encouraged to send it to investigators. Videotapes and photos will not be returned. For more information call:

    Johnson Space Center Emergency Operations Center (Phone: 281/483-3388)
Mail videotapes to:
    NASA Johnson Space Center
    Mail Code JA17 2101
    NASA Road 1
    Houston, Texas 77058
Email digital images to:

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